Seeking a more lenient sentence for Patrick Eugene Stein’s plot to murder hundreds of Somali immigrants in a small Kansas town, Stein’s attorneys turned to a novel strategy: They blamed the inspiration for his actions on Donald Trump.
In the United States, we have long held that universal, free (that is, tax-supported) public education for youth is a fundamental responsibility of society and serves as a basic community resource, providing a pathway to understand democracy, exercise responsible citizenship, explore the world’s accumulated knowledge, appreciate American culture and prepare for a world of work in which we ultimately attain economic security. However, extending from the first taxpayer-supported school in 1639, attaining free public education for all children has been a bumpy evolution, fraught with issues of both race and religion.
About six months ago, a friend and I were talking about the 2020 presidential elections when he shared a startling prediction: President Trump would not seek re-election.
The anniversary of the end of the Great War — despite President Donald Trump visiting pan-European ceremonies in France — passed almost unnoticed in the United States. This is noteworthy because 4 million Americans were mobilized for the war and about 2 million shipped to Europe where 50,585 were killed in combat and another 200,000 suffered wounds. Another 100,000 American military personnel died from complications involving wounds and influenza. American combat deaths in World War I rank third only behind the American Civil War and the Second World War.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an open letter to District Judge Ralph Strother regarding a deal recommended by McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna’s office giving deferred probation to Jacob Anderson, 23, of Garland. Anderson, a former Baylor University fraternity president accused of sexual assault, is free on bail after his Oct. 15 no-contest plea to a third-degree felony charge of unlawful restraint. As part of the bargain, prosecutor Hilary LaBorde agreed to dismiss four counts of sexual assault against Anderson, who agreed to get counseling and pay a $400 fine. The plea offer would not require him to register as a sex offender. Strother will sentence Anderson on Dec. 10.
Critics lost little time attacking U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ newly unveiled regulations mandating college and university protocols involving sexual-assault claims. Some protest may be justified, but those who witnessed the chaos and conflict involving earlier administrative failures at Baylor University in properly addressing sexual assaults should welcome the opportunity to discuss such regulations by light of day. This should mean congressional hearings — and without all the grandstanding and histrionics.
These days, plenty out there gets slammed as “socialism” for political purposes, especially anything except insurance company-delivered health care. In most cases, my impression has been the term “socialism” is being misused for purposes of fear-mongering or out of ignorance. Turns out my impression is correct.
When French President Emmanuel Macron denounced populist nationalism this week and called on world leaders to support institutions such as the United Nations that defend “the common good of the world,” liberal elites cheered. The speech was seen as a rebuke of President Trump, whose opposition to “globalism” and embrace of “nationalism” are held up as signs of the decay of American conservatism and U.S. global leadership.
This week’s tempest over a decision by local military veterans to cancel Monday’s Veterans Day Parade amid forecasts of rain, high winds and plummeting temperatures reminds us of the dilemma occasionally faced by school superintendents amid forecasts of snow or ice: If one cancels school and the weather proves temperate, the superintendent appears the fool. If he or she doesn’t cancel and a winter storm strikes, outraged parents howl how the superintendent has imperiled the lives of students and teachers.
Nearly a year has passed since his death, but on Dec. 2, 2017, we buried another World War II hero. I know that you didn’t hear about it. It didn’t make much news, but this man, my Uncle Alphons Urbanovsky, 95, was a member of the Greatest Generation. He did what he had to do and didn’t ask for a handout or sympathy. He proudly served his country and worked to provide for himself, his family and his community.
With more races being decided by ever-slimmer margins, such as in Florida’s gubernatorial and Senate elections, increasing attention is being paid to who can and cannot vote, and how difficult the voting process has become for certain Americans. This midterm election was decided in part by widespread voter suppression and it’s time for Americans to acknowledge how much partisan maneuvering is to blame.
What were we talking about one year ago? Take a look back.
For months, District Attorney Abel Reyna and his staff made clear they were champing at the bit to try strapping, 35-year-old Dallas Bandidos chieftain and locomotive engineer Jake Carrizal before any of the other bikers rounded up after the deadly 2015 shootout at Waco’s Twin Peaks restaurant and watering hole. Consequently, many of us in the peanut gallery leaned closer to better understand, perchance appreciate, Reyna’s strategy of legally pursuing 154 bikers on identical organized crime charges, as opposed to the more discriminating capital murder charges Waco police originally contemplated.
There is a lot we don’t know about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election. Most importantly, we don’t know who will be implicated and charged beyond the three men already indicted (Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopolous). We don’t know how broad the investigation has become. And we certainly don’t know if President Trump will be implicated at all.
If Saudi Arabia didn’t already have enough worries in a fast-changing Middle East, yet another crisis has hit home for the once-stable desert kingdom: the sweeping arrests of 11 princes and former ministers. The move ordered by King Salman and carried out by his impulsive son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known increasingly as “MBS,” could well mark the beginning of the end for this increasingly uncertain U.S. ally.
It turns out electing President Trump was not the apex of Republicans’ political insanity. Since last November, consider the Trump GOP’s track record: